Purple Magazine
— Purple 25YRS Anniversary issue

Viviane Sassen

text by JEFF RIAN

photos from Roxane II by VIVIANE SASSEN, published by OODEE

Viviane Sassen lived for three years, before the age of five, in west Kenya, where her father ran a polio clinic, but she returned to the Netherlands transformed. Africa’s vivid physicality and graphic, colorful clothing left an indelible mark.

At 16 she revisited Africa, revitalizing her memories. She also began to use a camera to explore youthful sexuality, shooting nude portraits of herself and friends, trying to distort the male gaze through different tactics of concealing and revealing. Later she studied fashion design at Arnheim’s Royal Academy, modeled for designers Viktor & Rolf, and then switched to photography, getting her degree in Utrecht in 1992 with a thesis on photography books. Sassen has since made many books, such as her latest release, Roxane II, published by oodee. It would seem that photography released her hybrid genie of memory, experience, fashion, and art.

In a place like Africa, gra­phic patterns and vivid colors are the flowers of human expression, drawing together fashion and art in daily ritual. Sassen makes use of a mix of Anglo-Saxon rational geometry and African color in her work. Her photographs often situate a familiar fashion subject — often a beautiful woman’s body — within a creatively experimental graphic environment that she creates herself. Roxane II beautifully exemplifies her art. She paints on Roxane’s body and on cutup paper; she poses the model the way Pina Bausch might have posed a dancer; she uses computer editing to compose images, arranging Roxane as the beautiful centerpiece of a part of a larger composition of color and abstract forms. Call it colorful constructivism or lively formalism. Whatever it is, she brings together art and fashion in a way that few artists or fashion photographs do.

[Table of contents]

Purple 25YRS Anniversary issue

Table of contents

purple NEWS

purple 25 YEARS 25 COVERS

purple INTERVIEW

purple FASHION WOMEN

purple FASHION MEN

purple DOCUMENT

purple BEAUTY

purple ARCHITECTURE

purple LOVE

purple PHILOSOPHY

purple NIGHT

purple STORY

purple SEX

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